Whether it’s the fall out from the self-drive Uber car crashing, the Australian Cricket team’s cheating tactics or cuts having a detrimental effect on the British Military, damaged credibility seems to be frequently in the news. We often see this concern pop up when conducting influence needs analysis with our clients too, either in their desire to respond to an incident or to build their reputation in the markets they operate in.

Having spent tens of thousands of hours responsible for the collection of human intelligence on military operations throughout the world, it was important that we at Applied Influence Group developed our ability to assess whether an individual was trustworthy, credible and whether what they were saying was truthful. This was imperative as the information that we received was included in planning and future strategy therefore if false information was given, it could have had severe consequences for soldiers, security forces and public safety.

When looking at credibility alone, there are three areas we assessed the individuals we were dealing with; trustworthiness, expertise and dynamism. If someone lacked in one of those factors our perception of their credibility would suffer. For trust we would consider previous interactions we had had with them; how other interactions have gone, their reputation and how well we know them. Expertise would depend on their knowledge, skills and aptitude to perform whatever they are claiming they are going to do or have done. Finally, for dynamism we would assess whether someone has the motivation and will actually do what they are claiming. We spent thousands of hours scrutinising people’s credibility and this made our skills in being able to assess the credibility of an individual rapidly improve.

When capacity building with clients, we take these lessons from the battlefield and assist them in building credibility with their target audience through influence messaging around those three key areas. The next time you are trying to convince someone of your credibility, ask yourself ‘how am I showing that I am reliable, willing and competent in what I’m claiming?’ Because if one of those elements is removed, your credibility in the eyes of the person that is judging you will suffer.